This 2012 Hyundai Veloster for sale on Facebook Marketplace for $4,000 is a great example of why I love the Safari off-road trend.
For those who so far have avoided the “Safari all the cars” madness, here’s how it usually works: Take a car not meant to leave pavement, jack it up high, put some meaty tires on it and take it for an off-road trek. Part of the fun of going off-road is building a vehicle that can survive a beating. Sometimes, people like building off-road rigs out of things that aren’t a Jeep or a truck. While there doesn’t appear to be any concrete explanation behind the trend’s history or name, many builders are inspired by old Porsche rally cars.
Popular examples include Porsche 911s and all sorts of beater Buicks living a new life. I’m used to seeing all sorts of Safari builds in the Gambler 500, but none have quite hit the spot for me like this Veloster.
While I love its funky looks, the performance of the standard Veloster doesn’t do much for me. There are a lot of cars that I’d rather drive. That’s where this Veloster changes the game. It combines the looks that I love with the fun of off-roading a car.
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I chatted with the owner and he says that the car does more than just look the part. It is lifted two inches using polyurethane strut spacers in front and rear. He also modified the wheel wells so that the 15-inch Jeep Wrangler wheels with 30-inch mud tires fit. The build is capped off with touches like a side exit exhaust, a tube bumper from a Jeep Wrangler and some off-road lighting.
This Veloster is said to rip through mud, climb hills and even claw over rocks better than anyone expected. He attributes the car’s off-road prowess to how little it weighs. The wheels are also right on the corners, with limited overhangs to get in the way.
I asked the owner why he did this. After all, this is probably the last thing the average Veloster owner would want to do:
I did all the work myself with a couple friends. I wanted something unique and I wanted a challenge. I only know of 5 other lifted Velosters and none of which are in my state (GA). Obviously the Veloster was never built to go off-road but I love the platform and wanted to build off of it. I always saw lifted Miatas and things like that and really liked the look so I wanted to do it to my own car. It does better than anyone expected off-road.
I can’t blame him, lifted Miatas get seriously wild!
I bet it’s an absolute hoot off-road. It’s not going to be as capable as a 4x4, but I bet you can’t drive it without a big grin on your face. He also says that the Veloster runs and drives great. It even has gotten all of its recall repairs completed.
It’s $4,000 on Facebook Marketplace. Stock Velosters with similar mileage can run nearly twice that price. It’s not going to be for everyone, but I think it’s a reasonable ask.